Mother’s Day (& may the 4th be with you all)

May 4, 2016 at 10:04 pm | Posted in Death, Grief, Jake, life after loss, Love, mother, mourning, Sawyer | 12 Comments
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There is not a day that goes by that I do not think of Jake and Sawyer, but some days are harder than others.  Mother’s Day is one of those days.  Logically it is just another day.  They are both gone every. single. day.  It is not like the first days, weeks and months after they died when the tears so often streamed down my face without me even realizing.  Now most of the time my tears are tucked farther away.   The sadness and the joy of loving Jake and Sawyer is a part of me.

I know I am not alone.  There are so many other mothers in this club with me.  There are mothers who this is their first Mother’s Day without their child (or maybe it is the 2nd or 22nd since their child died).

There are also mothers who have died leaving behind their children.  This is perhaps their children’s first Mother’s Day without their mother (or maybe it is the 2nd or 22nd since their mother died).

There are motherless mothers and motherless fathers. 

There are spouse’s who are filling the role of both parents on Mother’s Day.

Death is part of life.  And no matter how hard some days can be life goes on.

As I have already written, Mother’s Day is not my favorite day.  I try to focus on the 4 positive pregnancy tests and the 4 live births.  I also try not dwell on the 2 emergency C-sections, the NICU, the miscarriage and the 2 deaths.  The truth is that all of these events have made me a mother.

I know that this day is hard for so many.  There are the other mothers in the club whose arms will also ache to hold their children.  There are others who are missing their mothers, grandmothers or partners.  I send hope and hugs to you all.

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Many ways to mourn

April 2, 2014 at 10:08 pm | Posted in Grief, life after loss, Love, mourning | 5 Comments
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The other day a friend sent me an article about a mother who built a sandbox on her infant sons’ grave.  The sandbox is to give her living 3-year-old son a way to “play” with his baby brother.  It is a very creative idea which gives her son a way to mourn as well as bond with the brother he will never know.

My friend wrote in the email that the article made her smile.  It makes me smile too.

Reality Bites

January 8, 2013 at 10:54 pm | Posted in Death, Grief, mourning, normal? | 9 Comments
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quote - reality

Today it has been 1 week since I held my grandfather’s hand as he took his last breaths.  He is no longer suffering.  The funeral is over.  He was 100.  His death was not a shock.  Death is part of life.  I repeat these statements to myself several times a day.   So, why do I still feel like I am walking around in an alternate universe?

Evan, the twins and I have returned to work, school and life in general.

People ask “How were your holidays?”  I want to scream, my grandfather died on New Years Day.  Sawyer died the day after Christmas 3 years ago.  I officially hate the holidays!!!  However, I instead take a deep breath and respond, “Fine, how were yours?”

My thoughts are scattered.  It took me less than 1 day to lose the new insurance card Evan handed to me.  I got lost driving somewhere I go almost every week.

I am figuring out another new normal.

The Circle of Life

January 2, 2013 at 4:44 pm | Posted in Grief, life lessons, Love, mourning | 14 Comments
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Quote - winnie the pooh

I always knew that I would outlive my grandfather.  It is the way that life is supposed to go.  I made peace with my feelings about death in 2005.  After Jake died, defying the circle of life, I quickly came to terms with my own mortality.  I am not going to do anything to speed it up but I know I will die one day.  And, I knew the day would come when my grandfather would die.  No one lives forever.

He died yesterday.  I know that he was 100 and lived a (mostly) beautiful life but the last part of it was so excruciatingly painful for him.  I would have given anything to spare him the suffering he endured.

I am so very lucky that I was able to spend so much time with him.  The twins got to know him. I believe they will have memories of their wonderful great grandfather.

I am hoping and praying that he is now resting in peace with my grandmother.  And maybe, just maybe he will meet and play with his other 2 great grandchildren .

My Ghost of Christmas Past

December 26, 2012 at 12:02 am | Posted in Grief, Love, mourning, normal?, why I write | 21 Comments
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Sweet Sawyer

Dear Sawyer,
This picture of you looks as if I could just pick you up.  My arms ache every time I look at it.  I cannot believe I will never hold you again.  I should have never let you go that night.  If I knew it was the last time I was ever going to hold you or kiss you I would never have put you down on December 25th three years ago.  If I were holding you would I have been able to save you?  Why did you have to go?  Will we ever know?   So many questions without any answers.

The rational part of me knows that even if I ever do find out why you died it will not make a difference.  You will still be dead.  And, I will still be alive.  The irrational part of me thinks that if I could just understand your cause of death I could protect you.  Change the fact that you are gone.  The logical me then takes over again and argues that if we knew the cause then we could test the twins.  We could prevent other children from dying.  The rational, irrational and logical me might be battling it out forever.  None of us will win.  We will have all lost.

Quote - winnie the pooh

I hope that I can always remember how it felt to hold you.  I want to permanently erase the images of you in the emergency room.  Unfortunately, they are burned into my mind.  Luckily, there are other pictures of perfect little you. . .

Sawyer

Missing you always and forever.  I will look for you in my dreams and hope that I can hold you again one day.  I love you to the moon and back.

No words

December 18, 2012 at 11:44 pm | Posted in Grief, life lessons, Love, mourning | 6 Comments
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Gandhi peace buttonEvery morning since Friday I have woken up hoping that the senseless deaths in Newtown were a horrific nightmare.  After Jake’s and Sawyer’s deaths I had similar experiences.  The moments before I was fully awake everything seemed alright in the world.  And then an instant later it shattered.  Reality.  And, the world seems as if it is forever broken.

There are so many families left behind.  New members of the club.  Filled with endless questions.   Why?  How?  Guns?  G-d?  There are no answers that will bring them back.  The 20 children will never grow up.  The families will be missing pieces for eternity.

I so wish I had the right words but since I do not, I will again borrow wisdom from Gandhi.

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Anniversaries (repost)

September 12, 2012 at 12:12 am | Posted in Anniversaries, Grief, life after loss, mourning | 2 Comments
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The tragedy of 9/11 and its’ anniversary are kinds of grief.  It is of course, an enormous source of grief for all of the families and friends who lost loved ones.  It is also the kind of grief in which you realize that the world as you knew it will not ever be the same.

Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans the week that Jake passed away.  A very close friend of mine took her 5-year-old son in for his check up and the pediatrician found a rare heart condition.  My grandmother had died.  I felt like the world was coming to an end.  So, I asked the rabbi who presided at Jake’s funeral about the possibility that the world was ending.  He replied with an analogy.  He said that it is like when you decide you are going to buy a certain kind of car.  Once you make the decision you start seeing the car every where.  So, my take away from his explanation was now that I was grieving I would start to see grieving every where. . . Turns out you don’t have to look too far for grief in this world.  The record 7.0-magnitude earthquake hit Haiti shortly after Sawyer died.

I know that 9/11, where close to 3,000 people died; Hurricane Katrina, where 1,500-1,700 people died; and the earthquake in Haiti, where almost 230,000 people died are tremendous losses compared to the death of two babies.  But, those babies were mine.  And, my world will never be the same as it was before they had died.

There is not a contest for who has the most grief.  I am not trying to compare my losses to these catastrophic tragedies.  There are not any winners here.  In grief we have all lost.  However, there is still the next day and the day after that.  And one day, there is a point where we will realize that our loved ones are dead but we are still alive.

I have previously posted this on 9/11.  On the anniversary and every day, my heart, prayers and thoughts go out to not only the victims but to those who they left behind in this world. 

What I Need

April 14, 2012 at 11:12 pm | Posted in Death, life after loss, mourning, normal? | 19 Comments
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I am not always able to adequately articulate my feelings.  Jake and Sawyer’s deaths have often left me feeling alone and misunderstood.  Sometimes I read something and it is exactly how I think and feel.  Reading Four Plus An Angel  by Jessica, often leaves me with that reaction.  Jessica, writes beautifully about her life without her daughter Hadley.

What I Need by Jessica

I need to say her name without bringing everyone to tears.

I need her life to be included in the count of children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews.

I need kindness on birthdays and understanding on holidays.

I need to stay in bed and a reason to get out of it.

I need to talk endlessly and to let the phone ring.

I need an extra hug and respect for my space.

I need someone to ask how I’m doing and want to know the real answer.

I need careful announcements of pregnancies, baby showers and births, mine did not turn out as I hoped.

I need a “handle with care” sticker for my heart, my emotions have been fragile since the day I said goodbye.

I need patience and reminders for my mind, part of it will always be somewhere else.

I need forgiveness for not being the friend, sister, daughter and wife I used to be.

But more than anything I need you…

your support, your friendship, your understanding…

a lifetime is an impossibly long time to wait to hold my child again.

Two other impressive things going on at Four Plus An Angel:

  1. Jessica is also an advocate for autism.  She has a very cool project going on during April, Autism Awareness month.  Jessica is asking for a picture of you or someone you know or love who has autism, holding up a message they would like the world to know about autism. For more details on the project and where to send pictures click here.
  2. Jessica, like our family, supports the March of Dimes.   She is very close to her goal and I am hoping that she makes it.  Click on the button below to donate to Jessica’s team.

Things could always be worse. . .

February 18, 2012 at 9:16 am | Posted in emergency room, Grief, life after loss, Love, mourning, venting | 6 Comments
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The other night I was talking to one of my favorite friends and she asked how everyone at my house was feeling.  I thought about it and cautiously answered, “Everyone is doing pretty well.”  And, I truly thought all was well, until 5 am the next morning.  I woke up to Evan asking me to go get some ice packs.  He had a bloody nose that would not stop.  I won’t go into the gory details but he was a mess.

This had happened once before a few weeks after Sawyer died.   Evan had come home from work and after a few hours he could still not stop the bloody nose.  He shocked me by asking me to call 911.  He was taken to the ER in an ambulance.   The bloody nose eventually stopped.

After Jake died I had this realization that anyone and everyone close to me could slip away at an instant.  Life had a new kind of uncertainty.  I even flipped out when our dog, Buddy, had to be sedated for a dental cleaning.  My very same favorite friend talked me down off the ledge as we waited at the vet.

Life seems so fragile. Maybe it was fragile before Jake and Sawyer died but I was oblivious.  After Evan’s first visit to the ER it was not hard for me to imagine the worst happening.  Only a few weeks before we had buried Sawyer.  Nothing is guaranteed.

After yesterday’s visit to the ER I found myself trying not to let my mind go to the worst places.  As I drove Evan from doctor to doctor I took deep breaths.  I reminded myself of what my grandfather always says when asked how he is feeling, “I could be better but things could always be worse.”

The doctors told us that based on Evan’s blood pressure we were very lucky that it was a bloody nose because there were far worse alternatives.  My mind had already played and replayed the worst of the alternatives.  Now I will do my best to focus on the present.  Unfortunately, Evan and I both know all too well that things could always be worse.  He will get better.

Evan holding Sawyer

I just miss you

December 6, 2011 at 10:35 pm | Posted in Anniversaries, Grief, Love, mourning | 12 Comments
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Dear Sawyer,
It is me.  Are you there?  I know that I wrote a few weeks ago that I could handle the holidays.   I was wrong.  The dark days are back.  It is part of the deal.  This new normal life that I have been trying to create includes dark days.  They creep up.  I expect these days between your birthday and the day that you died to be hard.  I try to lower my expectations of what I can handle.  I wish the rest of the world would do the same.

I try to keep myself so busy that I cannot think.   It is not working this time.  So I try to act as if everything is okay.  Most of the time I can fake it till I almost believe myself that life without you and Jake is perfectly fine.  I cannot pretend.  Life without you and Jake is not okay.   

My arms physically ache to hold you.  Every day that passes is another day farther from when you were last with me.  When I hear other babies cry I can still tell that it is not your cry.  Will the day come when I have forgotten the sound of your cry?

We have given away or packed up most of your things.  We just cannot seem to go through the last few piles.  The gifts that were sent to you the week you died.  The clothes you wore that last few days of your life.  The condolence cards.  Your death certificate.  The cards of the police detectives.  They are all still here.   I wish that you were here too.

I do not want pity.  I want you.  I am just sad.  Life without you and Jake is so excruciatingly painful and bittersweet.  I know that there is still light.  I see it every time I look at your big brother and sister.

I just miss you. I will see you in my dreams sweet Sawyer.

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